Plumas County fire receives relief efforts from UM churches

September 13, 2007

The California-Nevada Annual Conference has set up a disaster fund to aid in the response to a Plumas County fire that has already scorched more than 64 thousand acres since Labor Day.

Greenville United Methodist Church, where the Rev. Tana McDonald is pastor, has been set up as a Disaster Relief Center serving the entire Indian Valley region, including the towns of Crescent Mills, Greenville and Taylorsville.


Plumas County National Forest officials report that the fire is close to 80% contained but that wind gusts expected over the next day could still cause some concern. Fire official Mark Beaulieu says that the evacuation order is slowly being lifted in some areas, though a mandatory evacuation order continues for Antelope Lake, Franks Valley, Wilcox Valley and Taylor Lake.


“We have 3300 firefighters from most of the western states fighting this. If we get past that the next few days, we should be doing better,” he adds.


Firefighters say most of the area burning is national forest with isolated personal properties. Four structures have burned, including the home of a Taylorsville UMC church family.


According to United Methodist Volunteers in Mission Coordinator Dr. Sue King, the family was away at the time and lost everything in the fire.


The Rev. McDonald is the pastor of both the Greenville and Taylorsville United Methodist Churches. She has been acting as the local disaster coordinator since the fire started September 3.


“Rev. McDonald’s churches and volunteers from the Greenville and Taylorville community and the UM churches, Chester, Quincy and Portola are helping families in the community with evacuation preparation, including providing evacuation check lists, and helping people in the community locate resources like finding trucks to help move livestock out of the fire zones. The relief efforts are helping Native American volunteers and evacuees, elderly, and young families. I am grateful to Martha Milk of Temple UMC who has agreed to act as a volunteer coordinator under the direction of Rev. Tana McDonald, starting Thursday of this week,” King says.


Right now other volunteer personnel are not needed to aid in the relief effort.


“As long as the evacuations are a reality there is no need to send volunteers to the area,” says King. “What is important is to get money to our Disaster Relief effort in the area to help with things like gas cards for filling up trucks that are hauling livestock, and assisting elderly or limited-mobility residents. Long term recovery efforts will be needed in the months ahead and persons wanting to sign up now to help can do so by contacting the conference Volunteers in Mission office at 916-374-1584.”


Donations for the fire relief effort may be sent to the California-Nevada Conference Volunteers in Mission office. Checks should be made out to California-Nevada Conference and specify “Disaster Relief” in the memo line.


King says it is important for Cal-Nevada to build up relief funds to be ready for the next disaster that strikes. “Money is always needed. What we don’t use to aid in responding to this fire, we will use to respond to other disasters in the conference. We are using the guidelines provided by United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to manage all aspects of relief, response and accounting.”


Bishop Shamana offers these words, “I join California-Nevada churches in giving thanks to the Greenville congregation and Pastor McDonald for their immediate response in providing relief. We continue to pray for the families who have lost their homes and treasured possessions. I know that this conference will respond with generosity and compassion.”